Mossuto’s Fat Lip Pizza
I was recently working back in NYC. I had a number of pizza adventures on this short trip, which I started writing about a few weeks ago, and this pizza recipe is from one of the more interesting visits, which I haven’t written about. I was staying with my good friend Holly, who is like a sister to me. I grew up next door to her family, where her twin brother Billy and she quickly became my big sister and brother by proxy. They were five years older than I was and helped “keep me in line” like I kept my younger brother and sisters in line! Our two houses may as well have been connected by a hallway, that should have been built, to make the trip across the well worn path more hospitable during the cold winter months. But, that would have ruined the Stoop-Ball court between the houses.
Holly was dying to take me out for pizza. I had just come from New York City where I had lunch at the new Don Antonio by Starita, where I met Roberto Caporuscio (who also owns Keste, one of my favorites), and had a truly unique new pizza for lunch and got to spend some time with Roberto and his daughter Giorgia back in the kitchen. How can you follow that up? I am never pizza’d out but I wasn’t currently in the mood. Holly kept insisting we go try this new place. I wasn’t really hungry and frankly, she isn’t a pizza fan. A few days before, she boldly said to me that she wished I was on a Wine Quest instead of a Pizza Quest. What she didn’t realize, though, is that I was on one of those also. The Quest is the “Quest”. Period! So, anyway, I was a little skeptical of getting dragged out to a Jersey shore pizzeria that night! She insisted, though, wanting to show me this new place that wasn’t far from where we grew up over in Wall Township on Route 35. The place is called Mossuto’s Market. It’s an Italian Market/Deli turned Market/Deli/Pizzeria/Restaurant. I’ll tell you more about it all in a follow up article, or two. But, what I want to tell you about now is the new pizza I ran into that night. Its name is “The Fat Lip” and it’s a signature pizza of Biagio Schiano, who is one of the owner’s and head pizzaiolo at Mossuto’s.
After we ate (there’s lots more to tell about the part between when I arrived until after we ate, but that’s for another day) I asked Biagio, with whom I’d enjoyed a lot of conversation as we sat at the pizza bar near the wood burning oven, what type of peppers those were on the pizza. He told me that they were actually a local product that he got from a guy who makes them from an old Italian family recipe. He then said, “Oh, he’s right over there. He the one who makes the peppers.”Let me again say, it was a very interesting night and I hope you’ll tune in to read all about it in the coming weeks. But, for now, I’m going to share the recipe of my first attempt at making my own “Fat Lip” at home. I couldn’t wait any longer because they gave me a jar of those peppers and I felt that they had sat in my cupboard too long (about 2 weeks — okay, that wasn’t really that long a time). But, their pizza was so delicious and I had a hankering for some more and, hey, I had the peppers!
To make this pizza, first you have to make the sauce. I’ll find out more about the peppers so you can find something similar and maybe even try to follow up with the owner and figure out how we can make something similar from scratch, like our Mom’s Soy Pickled Jalapenos (recipe link here), but for now, you may have to visit the source on Route 35 in Wall Township, N.J. – Mossuto’s Market.
The Mossuto’s “Fat Lip” Finelli Vinegar Pepper Sauce
– Finelli’s Italian Family Recipe Peppers (or your favorite pickled peppers)
*Note: These peppers are pickled in Vinegar, Water, Oil with Garlic, and Salt and I see a little Dill floating in the juice. They are sweet and a little spicy and certainly vinegary. Delicious!– Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– Chopped Garlic – to your taste
– Black Pepper
– Chili Flakes
Sometimes you can read the ingredients in a recipe and know you don’t need the instructions. This is one of those times. Chop and combine and let your instinct (or your gut) guide you on the amounts.
Just to be formal about it though, here’s what you do:
Chop, or slice the peppers and place in a bowl.
Chop up garlic
Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil (add enough that you will create a sauce for drizzling)
Add a little of the pickling juice if you want (I do and I did!)
Add Oregano, Salt, Pepper and Chili Flakes, to taste
When I sat with Sean, one of the pizzaiolos at Mossuto’s, the next morning he talked me through the process as he made up a batch. This is definitely a place where the pizzas and ingredients are evolving. As he made up a new batch of the peppers it was not by a recipe. I could tell by his discussion that they were always playing with this and other things on their menu allowing a little fluctuation in the cooking process due to varying ingredients etc.
The “Fat Lip” Pizza– Your favorite Pizza Dough
*I used our Signature Bruery Dough. *Click Here for Recipe
– Mossuto’s “Fat Lip” Finelli Pepper Sauce
– Fresh Mozzarella *About 70%
– Provolone Cheese *About 30%
*I used what I had on hand, which was a Bel Gioioso Italico Cheese that is a soft cheese with a nice earthy, almost nutty flavor – which added a little more depth to the pizza. I used about 85/15 split of Mozz to Italico for this pizza.
– Chopped Cherry Tomatoes (or the freshest tomatoes you can find)
– Chopped Fresh Basil
Ok, let’s throw the punch!
(Are you with me here? You know, to cause a “Fat Lip”!
Lay the peppers onto the dough and sprinkle the oil/sauce around the dough.
(It would look nice to just cover this with a lot of oil/sauce, but you don’t want the pizza to be too oily in the end.)
Add the cheese. I pinched off pieces of the fresh mozz and then the Italico and spread them around the pie.
That’s it. It goes into the oven now.
Pre-heat your oven, of course, to 550 degrees for at least an hour if using a pizza stone.
(I baked this for about 7 Minutes on my bottom stone and then moved it to the top stone for about a minute – just to try to give it a little more top heat to finish it off.)
Add the cool chopped tomatoes and basil.
Cut and Serve.
This is my first attempt at the Mossuto’s Fat Lip Pizza at home. My ingredients varied a little from theirs, but this turned out beautiful!y. Look how fresh and tasty this thing looked. I will have to follow up and find out more about these peppers as I quench my obsession. They are a little spicy, but not too much. They are vinegary,but not too much. The sensation of biting through the warm crust on the bottom and the cooler tomatoes on top that sandwich the oozy melty cheese blend and the “zaazy” flavors of the Finelli Peppers and Sauce is like a symphony in your mouth.
I loved this pizza when I had it that night at Mossuto’s, and again the next morning before my flight home to LA, and then again with my wife approximately two weeks later! As you know, I like to brag when my family likes my pizzas, and my wife said this was one her favorite pizzas to date! It’s a growing list, these ‘favorites,” and I’m happy to keep adding to it.Let us know how you like it and good luck creating your own version. If you’re ever in Wall Township, NJ stop in and try the original! Tell Biagio I said hello and I’ll see him next time I’m in the area. I will be writing up more of a story about my visit to Mossuto’s in the coming weeks.
Recent Articles by Brad English
Pizza Quest Info
Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.
...and other books by Peter Reinhart, available on Amazon.com